The Nelson Touch

215 years ago, on 21st October 1805 Vice Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson destroyed all hopes of an invasion of Britain by Napoleon by defeating the combined French and Spanish Fleets at the Battle of Trafalgar. On his 47th birthday, 29th September, Nelson invited 15 of his Captains to dinner on board the Victory and gave his plans for the sea battle. He told Emma ‘Lady’ Hamilton that his Captains approved of ‘The Nelson Touch’.

Nelson’s marriage to Lady Nelson had become an unhappy one. The love of his life was Emma Hamilton, wife of Sir William Hamilton, British Ambassador to Naples, who had passed away in 1801. The couple were devoted to each other with Emma naming their daughter Horatia and they exchanged rings at a Communion service shortly before leaving to re-join the Fleet.

On the morning of the great sea battle, Nelson asked Captains Hardy and Blackwood to witness his request to the Government for Lady Hamilton to be granted a pension. He then wrote a letter to Emma, a prayer to God, and sent his famous signal to the Fleet “ENGLAND EXPECTS THAT EVERY MAN WILL DO HIS DUTY”.

The Government ignored Nelson’s own wishes and in 1815, after a colourful life, Emma died a fugitive in Calais in poor and distressed circumstances.  Her memory lives on in many ways but none more so than at Hamilton Court, Nelson Place, South Woodham Ferrers where the Masonic Housing Association provides sheltered accommodation with 43 self-contained flats for the over 55s with no upper age limit.  A full time Manager is supported by a House Committee of 11 volunteer Essex Freemasons bringing a range of professional skills to help the administration ensure the tenants live in a well maintained and Covid safe environment.

In addition, the Hamilton Court Charitable Association works hard to help make life even more enjoyable thanks to the generosity of Lodges and Freemasons in Essex. On the anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, as Nelson looks down from above, he would surely be satisfied that the Freemasons of the United Grand Lodge of England are doing their duty exactly as he would have expected them to. He may also be delighted that the love of his life is remembered in Essex at Hamilton Court where the tenants approve of ‘The Nelson Touch’ by Essex Freemasons.